Arizona State Sun Devils Season Preview – Kurt Ascetta
When it comes to long-term sustainable success in college baseball, no program has been better than Arizona State. 54 straight seasons of 30+ wins is the longest active streak in the NCAA, and this year looks to be no different. Despite what is considered to be a down year at 36-23, and losing 4 All PAC-12 players to the MLB Draft in 2016, the Sun Devils responded with one of the strongest recruited classes in the nation under 3rd year coach Tracy Smith.
Roughly two-thirds of the ASU roster consists of freshmen and sophomores, but they certainly won’t be an easy opponent. Top recruits C Sam Ferri and OF Hunter Bishop highlight the position players that could project to start for the Sun Devils this year. On the pitching side, RHP Zane Strand, LHP Spencer Van Scoyoc, and LHP Chaz Montoya lead the way for the fresh arms of 2017, each of whom could become members of the starting rotation at some point this season.
The returning position players to keep an eye on include Sophomore OF Gage Canning, and Juniors INF Andrew Snow and OF Andrew Shaps. Shaps finished 2nd on the team last season in average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage (.321/.360/.443), and all three players recorded 20+ RBI while playing in 54+ games each. These players will be the cornerstone of the ASU offense this season, so their performances will establish which direction the team goes this year.
The biggest concern as the Sun Devils head into 2017 is their pitching. Relatively inexperienced juniors coupled with an army of freshman arms could be the crux of ASU this year. They key pitchers include Juniors LHP Eli Lingos, RHP Ryan Hingst, and transfer RHP Jake Godfrey. Hingst threw the 10th no-hitter in ASU history last season against Utah, recording 9 strikeouts and walking 3 batters. Lingos and Hingst combined for only about 100 innings, with Hingst making only 4 starts.
What to Watch For:
Position Battle: Sam Ferri & Zach Cerbo (catcher)
All PAC-12 Watch List
OF Gage Canning OF Andrew Shaps, INF Andrew Snow, P Ryan Hingst
@ TCU Feb 24-26
Long Beach State Mar 10-12
Oregon St Mar 16-18
UCLA Mar 31 – Apr 2
@ Washington May 12-14
Arizona May 18-20
Catch the full schedule here